Ray Thompson: meet the Winnebago County Board District 3 candidates


Ray Thompson

Ray Thompson is running against John M. Guevara in the March 19 Republican primary election for Winnebago County Board of Trustees District 3, which includes much of Roscoe. 

Ray Thompson's experience includes building an aircraft simulation lab under budget, managing an FAA certification lab, and overseeing a systems team for an international aircraft manufacturer. He recently retired from Collins Aerospace, formerly Sundstrand, where he was an engineer and manager. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from UW Madison, with a focus on business strategy. His website is raythompson.org.

District 3 includes the Rock River, Hononegah Forest Preserve, Kelly Myers Park, Goldie B. Floberg Center, Riverside Park, Roscoe Middle School, and Schnucks, and many Roscoe restaurants. It includes downtown Roscoe east to 90 and west to Old River Road. Its eastern border runs south along 251 to Ralston Road/173.  On the current Winnebago County map [PDF], revised in 2021, District 3 is colored "sorrell brown." 

Thompson was endorsed by Paul Hofmann, chair of the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee, as well as Village of Roscoe trustees Mike Wright, Michael Sima, and William Babcock.

Later his list of endorsements increased with the addition of 

  • Carol Gustafson, Roscoe Village President
  • Jan Klaas, former Chairman of the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee and candidate for the Republican National Convention pledged to Donald Trump
  • Tim Simms, former Illinois State Senate District 34 and Precinct Committeeperson Rockton 8
  • Pam Harding, Precinct Committeeperson Harlem 4
  • Katie Littlefield, Precinct Committeeperson Harlem 21 and former Hononegah School Board member
  • Steve Scherrer, Precinct Committeeperson Roscoe 11
  • Cliff Jensen, Precinct Committeeperson Rockton 13
  • Lowell Ingram, Precinct Committeeperson Harlem 15
  • Connie Gleasman, Precinct Committeeperson Rockton 2

We asked each candidate to tell us why they should be elected as District 3 Trustee.

Ray Thompson

What are your qualifications for the Winnebago County Board of Trustees?

Local Roots:

I have lived in Winnebago County for over 30 years and raised my three adult daughters in this community. My commitment to our community extends beyond mere residency as I have volunteered throughout this community in varied roles; for example, mentor at King Elementary and Guilford High School, former board member for the local Girl Scouts Council, board member for House of Refuge Church; volunteer for the Salvation Army Paint-A-Thon; volunteer at a local food pantry.

Experience in Business:

I have worked in the aerospace industry for over 30 years, gaining experience in technology, leadership, business, and collaboration. I have worked in many areas, including customer service, technical design, project engineering, and program management. I have led teams through multiple root cause analysis projects and continuous improvement events. I have led diverse cross-functional teams in accomplishing major program and project objectives, like leading the construction of a multimillion-dollar lab on time and under budget.

Education and Training:

  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  • Master's in Business Administration focused on Strategy
  • Project Management Experience
  • Training Facilitator
  • Servant Leader

The items above summarize my background that qualify me for this role with the Winnebago County Board of Trustees.

Why are you running?

I am running because of my commitment to our community's well-being and my heart to help others.

Since recently retiring from Collins Aerospace (formerly Sundstrand), I have been helping throughout our community on a smaller scale. This trustee role will allow me to support even more of my neighbors in Winnebago County.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

As a Winnebago County Board trustee, I hope to accomplish the following:

  • Improve the quality of life for Winnebago County residents by advocating for more jobs, greater transparency in county operations, and fiscal responsibility.
  • Economic Development and Jobs:  I will work to attract businesses, promote entrepreneurship, and create job opportunities. Investing in infrastructure, supporting vocational training, and nurturing small businesses will be pivotal. A robust economy benefits all residents.
  • Communication: Regular town halls, accessible information, and public forums will be integral to this approach. Citizens deserve to know how their tax dollars are spent and how policies impact their lives.
  • Fiscal Responsibility: Advocate for more responsible spending, ensuring essential services receive adequate funding.

In summary, my goal is to be a catalyst for improvement in Winnebago County.

What are the reasons that people should vote for you?

Here are some reasons why I am the best choice for this role, and people should vote for me:

  • I care deeply about the well-being of our community, as demonstrated by years of involvement in civic and volunteer activities, and I am committed to improving Winnebago County.
  • I have a strong background in problem-solving, system analysis, root cause investigations, and implementing efficient and effective robust solutions.
  • I envision Winnebago County's future based on improvements in public safety, economic development, fiscal responsibility, and environmental sustainability principles. I will work hard for our county as follows:
  • Promotes public health and safety as a priority
  • Encourage more robust city & regional planning
  • Supports local businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Protects our natural resources
  • Advocate efficient and effective services for our residents

These are some reasons I am best qualified and ready to serve as our new Winnebago County Board trustee.

This role requires active participation, consensus-building, and listening skills, all of which I bring to this position.

Together, let us work on making Winnebago County even better.

Ray Thompson's endorsements

Ray Thompson is endorsed by Paul Hofmann, Harlem Township trustee and chair of the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee, as well as by Village of Roscoe trustees Mike Wright, Michael Sima, and William Babcock. He is also endorsed by several Republican Precinct Committeepersons:

  • Pam Harding - Precinct Committeeperson Harlem 4 - Harlem School Board Candidate
  • Katie Littlefield - Precinct Committeeperson Harlem 21 - Former Hononegah School Board Member
  • Steve Scherrer - Precinct Committeeperson Roscoe 11
  • Cliff Jensen - Precinct Committeeperson Rockton 13 - Active with Talcott Library in Rockton
  • Lowell Ingram - Precinct Committeeperson Harlem 15 - Harlem School Board Candidate
  • Tim Simms - Former Illinois State Senate District 34 - Precinct Committeeperson Rockton 8 - alderman
  • Connie Gleasman - Precinct Committeeperson Rockton 2

I have had the opportunity to work with Ray Thompson for many years. I endorse him for Winnebago County Board District 3 because of the capability, skills and hard work that he will bring to this position. Ray has a history of strong business and professional performance, problem solving skills, listening, character and integrity. Ray has not been active in the political system but he has actively served in the community. His alignment with the Republican party and its values is strong. This is why he edges out his opponent in my view.

-Paul Hofmann, Harlem Township trustee

After John Guevara sent a mailing that called Thompson a RINO (Republican in Name Only), Hofmann added:

I am proud to endorse my friend and former colleague for the Winnebago County Board District 3 seat. Ray Thompson and I worked together as engineers for the Sundstrand Corporation, and I have always known him to be a hard-working man of integrity. He comes to the Republican Party as a fresh face, but his heart and his principles have always been those of our shared values. A Republican in Name Only, a RINO, is someone who pretends that they are a Republican, but their dishonest acts and lack of work ethic expose them. Ray Thompson is a TRUE Republican who is honest and a dedication to every job he undertakes. He will be a great member of the Winnebago County Board and I fully endorse him.

-Paul Hofmann, Harlem Township trustee

Being [Village of Roscoe] trustees right now, we feel and see more than ever the need for Roscoe to be a bigger picture in the eyes of Winnebago County Board members. We feel that Ray Thompson will be focused on our district and make all efforts possible to bring more light to Roscoe and its constituents.

-Mike Wright
-Mike Sima
-William Babcock

Mike Wright later added:

Who is Ray Thompson? A retired engineer who gives back to his Roscoe community through mentorship and school and church volunteerism. A conservative who knows how to build and sustain relationships... a collaborator and problem-solver… a data-driven decision maker. What’s his angle? To bring a history of strong business and professional performance to the Winnebago County Board District 3. Why Vote for Ray? Not your typical politician, Ray Thompson will listen to all viewpoints and represent District 3 with character and integrity, maintaining the values we believe in.

Mike Sima and William Babcock later added:

We wholeheartedly endorse Ray Thompson for Winnebago County Board District #3.
Why? As a former engineer, he brings a history of strong business and professional performance to the position. He believes in rolling up his sleeves to listen and collaborate, building relationships as he solves problems, and using data—not emotion—to drive decision making.
As a father and grandfather, Ray is an active volunteer in community churches and schools and a mentor to children. Ray Thompson is the conservative citizen’s voice that Winnebago County needs to maintain the hometown values we believe in.

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